Thursday, September 06, 2007: Waves: 1-2 feet; larger waves never materialized due in large part to the down side of the moon – swells don’t arrive as well on this moon phase. Water clarity: Excellent – better in September often refers to ideal ocean conditions.
We continue on a super weather roll. It’s needed if you want to find fluke, which were last seen off the Ferris Wheel, fish running up to 8 pounds in some of the headboat pools. Closer to Barnegat Inlet, fluke were out in a leaden depth of 80 to 90 feet. Ouch. With a south wind on the sea surface, that’ll mean at least 10 ounces of lead just to reach bottom, much less hold steady.
Bayside, inlet and nearshore fluking is pretty poor, back to that ton-of-shorts thing – and junkfish of every measure. I’m guessing the suds fluke are moving into position.
A bit disconcerting is the sudden quieting of weakies in west B. Bay. I can’t believe that marks the pullout just yet and I’ll bet the sharpies are back into west bay sparklers by this weekend. If not, there has to be a monumental biomass of weakfish drifting near the inlets. I’m gave the South End a look late today but saw no color – except for bluefish by the truckload. The blues are running very small, that flat look that doesn’t disappear until three pounds is reached. I had one blue about 3 pounds taken on a Polaris popper near the Rip during incoming.
There are already a few ocean-run mullet in the system.
Regarding those ocean-run mullet, they are not migration mullet. What happens is mullet (by the million, some years) muster near the inlets, often beginning in early August. They feed and circle around, occasionally making what might be called recon forays into the ocean. They most often circle back to where they began or, in some cases, bolt southward along the beach until they hit the next inlet, where they hang out still waiting for the big move. Obviously, foraging gamefish can also spark these short bolts southward. This jockeying about is not the big migration, which, once started, doesn’t end until the mullet reach their rendezvous points down south, often as far away as Florida.
By the by, many of these mustering mullet are in their fattening mode, which means their bellies are filled with bottom detritus and algae, thus the name mud mullet. These baitfish can only be used for a short time once netted, maybe 36 hours tops. They are not good for freezing. The alga-filled bellies literally fall out when thawed. Interestingly, it takes very little time for mud mullet to rid themselves of their ingested algae. In fact, if you’ve ever accidentally put mud mullet in a livewell, within hours they will have off-ed the algae – and turned the well’s once-clean water into a green yucked out mess, replete with brownish green bubbles on the surface and a filthy ring of mullet crap around the top of the livewell – clean mullet and god-awful water.